The city of Denison will have new leadership overseeing the city’s park system, including the new Texoma Health Foundation Park. The city announced Tuesday that it has promoted Justin Eastwood as its new parks and recreation director, and will have Kimberly Bowen serving as the new assistant director.
Eastwood was recruited by Denison in April 2018 as the manager for THF Park, which was reaching the final phases of construction and officially opened in September. Bowen has served as the director of the Denison Public Library since 2015.
“Successful people are the key to successful programs and the personnel changes announced today will put the right people in the right positions to raise the quality of life in Denison,” City Manager Jud Rex said Tuesday in a press release. “Justin and Kimberly will make a great team when it comes to leadership in the department. They will take the parks and recreation department to new heights and the public will notice.”
Under the position, Eastwood and Bowen will oversee the city’s 23 parks, which total over 356 acres, and other trail systems and facilities.
Prior to his time with Denison, Eastwood worked with the city of McKinney and was involved with the launch of the city’s Apex Center. In addition to his work with McKinney, Eastwood also has experience with sports management, wellness and gerontology — the study of aging and old age.
“Our supervisors felt that between me and Kimberly, we would be the ones with what we collectively bring to the table to bring parks and recreation to where it could be,” Eastwood said.
Prior to her time as a library director working with Bonham and then Denison, Bowen started her work within city hall before moving into economic development in Durant and other area cities. Bowen said her experience was not specifically with parks and recreation, but said she brings to the table experience with running programs aimed at all ages.
“I think a lot of the parallels are in the programs we offer,” she said. “A lot of that goes hand in hand.”
Eastwood will be filling a vacancy that was left by former Parks and Recreation Director Chris Mobley, who left the city over the past summer. Since that time, Denison has considered candidates, but focused the search internally, Community and Development Services Director Kimberly Murray said.
With Bowen making the move to Parks and Recreation, Murray said the city will now be searching for a new library director. Murray gave no indication on how long Denison expects the search to be, but noted city officials plan to complete an external search for the position. Though that does not rule out the possibility of an internal promotion, she said.
“Kimberly Bowen has turned the library around 180 degrees with programming, attendance, the availability of different types of opportunities for all of our citizens to participate in all the way up into the senior years,” Murray said.